Monday, October 20, 2014

Zumi Sushi to Reboot as Lucky Belly

Posted By on Mon, Oct 20, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Patrick Burke, the CEO of Seed Hospitality, has announced that Zumi Sushi in Hillsboro Village will be altering its sushi concept to reopen as Lucky Belly. The new venture will have a focus on burgers and sushi. Burke says the cuisine pairing grows out of the obsession of many young Japanese on American culture, a phenomenon he calls "Japanacana."

I spoke with Burke and he is extremely excited about the new venture, which also benefits from chef Jason McConnell as a partner. The two launched Two Ten Jack together earlier this year, and McConnell will contribute to menu planning and even help to raise the beef for Lucky Belly's burgers which will be grown to his specifications by Greene Cattle Company near his own farm in Bon Aqua, Tennessee, just outside Nashville.

Expect about eight specialty burgers and eight inventive sushi rolls on the menu at Lucky Belly, along with small-plate options and spiked milkshakes to complement a full bar with Japanese and domestic beers on tap, sake, shochu, Japanese whisky and other libations, much like at Two Ten Jack. Lucky Belly's signature burger will feature house-cured pork belly to replace the traditional bacon on top of the patty.

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Mill Creek Brewing Co.'s Kickstarter Is Live and Kicking Ass

Posted By on Mon, Oct 20, 2014 at 7:21 AM

Last month I told you about Mill Creek Brewing Co., the proposed Nolensville brewery project from homebrewer/entrepreneur Chris Going. Since then, his promised Kickstarter campaign has gone live, and with a few weeks to go, the results have been pretty fantastic.

Going is attempting to raise $110,000, which if successful will be the largest amount of money ever raised for a brewery project on the crowdfunding website. The previous most ambitious raise was $65,000. In the first 10 days of the campaign, Mill Creek has over $50,000 in pledges in return for premiums like pint glasses, brewing classes and invitations to the VIP opening party, hopefully next summer.

Going already has an option on a 25,000-square-foot facility in Nolensville where he plans to install a 30-barrel brewhouse with 180 barrels of fermentation tank capacity. Originally from the beer mecca of St. Louis, Going came to Nashville to study music at Belmont (haven't we all heard that story before?), and he still uses his degree as a school music teacher by day, augmenting his income with private guitar lessons.

He dropped by the Scene offices last week to offer the editorial staff at Bites a preview of the beers he plans to release. Even though these samples were just made on his small 10-gallon homebrewing system, I can say that they show great promise.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Dino's Building Has Changed Hands, Is Up for Lease [Updated]

Posted By on Fri, Oct 17, 2014 at 12:28 PM

Earlier this morning, local folk 'n' roll jesters Birdcloud brought the following to our attention: The space that houses beloved longtime East Side dive/haunt/venue/greasy spoon/watering hole Dino's is currently up for lease. This listing offers the 1,277-square-foot space for $16 per square foot per year. (Let me do that math for you: That comes to $20,432 annually.)

When we rang up Dino's for comment, owner Rick Wildeboor (who owns the business, not the building) said the space has "changed hands." Whether or not Dino's will stick around "remains to be seen." "Nothing's set in stone," Wildeboor told us.

If I may get personal for a moment: I've been going to Dino's for roughly a decade, and I know countless folks who have been doing the same for much, much longer. In addition to cheap pitchers and just about the best greasy no-frills burger you'll find in the 37206 zip code, Dino's has also long been a go-to spot for punk rock, noise-rock, hip-hop, experimental, poetry and country shows (and beyond). Next door to sleek-and-stylish bar No. 308, Dino's is a holdover hang for Old Nashville types — rock 'n' rollers, barflies and roustabouts. Here's hoping it keeps hanging on.

A version of this post first appeared on Nashville Cream.

Update: Sources tell us Miranda Whitcomb Pontes of Burger Up and Josephine is behind the changes at Dino's. More here.

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The Weekly Open Thread: The Office Desk Drawer Snack

Posted By on Fri, Oct 17, 2014 at 8:19 AM

Last week's open thread, exploring quick workday lunch options when you're on the clock, got quite a bit of reaction, so I thought I'd expand on the theme of food on the job.

My question this week: Do you have a standard snack you keep stashed in your desk drawer at work? For those days when you skip breakfast and need a little fuel till lunchtime? Or when lunch wasn't enough to tide you over until dinner? Do you tend toward savory snacks? Sweet snacks? Some of each?

For a long time, my standard go-to was just a bag of bulk trail mix. But recently, I've switched over to whole wheat crackers and almond butter. And there's usually some sort of chocolate floating around in the drawer. (The nature of my snack habits has in large part been determined by the Scene office's proximity to The Turnip Truck.)

So tell us your snack secrets! We won't judge. Promise.

And what else ya got?

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Sunday Is Fun Day at The Sutler and Yazoo

Posted By on Fri, Oct 17, 2014 at 7:10 AM

Nick Seabergh and his mud cat
  • Nick Seabergh and his mud cat
I don't know about y'all, but I'm finding myself in search of strong drink and spiritual nourishment after Sunday Titans games of late. Fortunately, two local favorite watering holes have come to the rescue with some fun new promotions.

Over in Melrose, The Sutler has kicked off a new Sunday deal that they're calling "Grass Fed Sundays," a weekly family-style dinner event. The name is not necessarily a reference to grass-fed meat, although Chef Nick Seabergh does try to source from local farms whenever possible. Instead, the "grass" is a nod to the local bluegrass and string music that entertains diners from The Sutler's stage during the Sunday suppers. From 4:30 to 10 p.m., the kitchen will serve a large-format meat and three sides designed to feed four to six people for a prix-fixe tab that will vary week to week, but you can expect something in the $75-$85 range. (although I guess that means the prix isn't exactly fixed.) The proteins will rotate weekly along with one special side. The other two accompaniments can be selected by the table from the regular menu.

“The family-style setting is ideal for sharing a meal and conversation around the supper table,” said Austin Ray, owner of The Sutler. “Chef Nick has fond memories of his own family’s Sunday meals, and he will pull inspiration from his native Mississippi as well as other parts of the South and West when preparing the weekly menus. As the title indicates, 'Grass Fed Sundays’ will feature the bounty of the season in a soulful dinner.”

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

More National Ink for Nashville Restaurants

Posted By on Thu, Oct 16, 2014 at 8:26 AM

The hits keep coming, and so do food writers from all over the country to Nashville to recognize the stellar dining scene we've got going on right here. Two more respected travel and lifestyle magazines have chosen to feature local eateries — and undoubtedly attract even more gastrotourists to town.

First off is Condé Nast Traveler, which has compiled a list of "The Best New Restaurants of the South." Unlike some other "Best of" lists that appear to have been researched strictly via the Web, Condé Nast's list was written by Hannah Raskin, the food writer and critic for Charleston's Post and Courier. She has previously served as a critic for the Dallas Observer and Seattle Weekly. I know Hannah personally and greatly respect her work, and I appreciate that Condé Nast sought out an expert to compile this list.

Of the eight new Southern restaurants on her list, a quarter of them are here in Nashville. Raskin recognizes the new outpost of Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint on Belmont Boulevard for bringing Pat Martin's brand of whole-hog to the city. While Martin's makes frequent appearances on rosters of the best barbecue joints, it's good to see Pat Martin recognized in a cohort with fine dining destinations.

Her second choice in Nashville is a little more off the national radar, but no less deserving of the recognition. Raskin shines her spotlight upon Thai Esane at the mouth of the Gulch on 12th Avenue South. She was impressed by Nina Sayasack's approach to Thai/Laotian cuisine and recommends the restaurant's soups, sausages and spring rolls. I heartily concur!

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Palm Wine Dinner to Feature Cerruto Wines

Posted By on Thu, Oct 16, 2014 at 7:09 AM

Regular readers know I'm a big fan of Italian wines. That's why I'm excited to hear about a wine dinner coming up Oct. 22 at the Palm downtown. The event, which costs $150 per person for 837 Club members and $175 per person for non-members, will begin with a reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by a four-course dinner at 7 featuring dishes paired with the wines of Cerruto, one of the premier Barolo and Barbaresco producers of Italy.

Check out the menu:

Course One, paired with Ceretto Arneis Blange 2013
Choice of espresso rubbed Carpaccio of beef tenderloin with baby arugula, lemon, black pepper, olive oil and shaved Parmigiano Reggio or Tuscan kale Caesar salad with focaccia croutons

Course Two, paired with Ceretto Barbaresco 2011
Nova Scotia lobster pasta with orecchiette, butter poached lobster, wild mushrooms and baby peas tossed in a parmesan truffle sauce

Course Three, paired with Ceretto Barolo Brunate 2008
Choice of 14-ounce black pepper crusted prime New York strip with perigourdine sauce and crispy fried leeks or seared jumbo sea scallops with leek fondue and truffle sauce

Course Four, paired with Ceretto Moscato d’Asti 2013
Chocolate nut torta with hazelnute crème anglaise

If you're interested in attending, RSVP to Paige Dixon at or (615) 742-3193.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Slider House Throws Viewing Party for Hometown Hero Tonight

Posted By on Wed, Oct 15, 2014 at 7:21 AM

Chef Sterling Wright
  • Chef Sterling Wright
With all the focus on Nashvillians on all those competitive cooking shows on television, it's surprising that we haven't previously had a local representative on Hell's Kitchen, Gordon Ramsey's brutal boot camp to ostensibly select a head chef for one of his many restaurants. But as Dana Franklin reported last month, that changed this season with the appearance of Sterling Wright as a contestant.

Wright serves as a grill cook at The Slider House in Midtown, and so far has acquitted himself as well as can be expected on the contentious show. In last week's episode however, the Blue Team (made up of a bunch of aggro male chefs) turned on Wright and nominated him to be eliminated. This was despite the fact that most of the rest of the team lost their everloving minds during dinner service, and several of them were ejected from the kitchen by Chef Ramsey.

Fortunately, Ramsey saw through the Blue Team's cowardice and kept Wright in the game for at least one more episode. In fact, after a cliffhanger of an ending where Ramsey says he's not through yet, it appears as if Wright will be making a switch to the Red Team of female chefs. At least that's what it looks like according to the coming attractions.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

New East Nashville Food Tour Is Not Just for Tourists ... and Not Just About Food

Posted By on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 11:46 AM

Cara Graham whips up cocktails at one food tour stop, Lockeland Table.
  • Cara Graham whips up cocktails at one food tour stop, Lockeland Table.

  • Tour creator Karen-Lee Ryan at Marché
Shoe leather isn’t on the menu, but Karen-Lee Ryan is about to go through a lot of it.

Ryan, a former Tennessean reporter, launched the Walk Eat Nashville tours this fall as a way to show off the neighborhood she's come to love since first moving here in 2005.

Earlier this year Ryan participated in an entrepreneurship program at The Skillery to hone her business plan, learning that even East Nashvillians who love their 'hood and eating out felt like they couldn’t keep up with all the new restaurants on their side of town. And visitors wanted to uncover the local foodie scene they've heard so much about. So she worked with local restaurants and food-related businesses to create fun, tasty, interesting and time-efficient tours that appeal to both those who live down the street and those who live across the country.

Ryan is offering tours now on Thursdays (1:30 p.m.) and Fridays (11 a.m.), the idea being that if visitors take them early on in a trip to Music City they'll learn about places they want to check out in more depth on their own. Currently Walk Eat Nashville offers two tour routes, each with six eating stops, about 1.5 miles of walking over about two-and-a-half hours. New routes will be added in the future.

Possibilities include a Makers and Bakers route and a vegetarian option (currently vegetarian accommodations can be made with advance notice).

Ryan's ideal mix of tour-goers is one-third East Nashvillians, one-third folks from other parts of town and one-third visitors from elsewhere.

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Late First Bite: The Hop Stop

Posted By on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 8:09 AM

First of all, apologies for the tardiness of this post. I've been meaning to tell y'all about The Hop Stop at 2909 Gallatin Pike for a while now, but it kept falling off the bottom of my editorial calendar. That's certainly not because it's not worthy of mention! Admittedly, pretty much all they serve to eat are hot dogs, but they are excellent hot dogs. And the beer selection and ambiance are definitely worth a visit.

The brainchild of the same team behind Village Pub and Beer Garden, The Hop Stop is the sort of neighborhood taproom that fits in perfectly with the developing area at that end of Gallatin Road. A jukebox filled with great tunes offers ambiance along with vintage vinyl that the staff plays during weekly Bingo Nights. Dart boards are available in the back of the room for those wishing to enjoy that old pub game standard, but the highlight of The Hop Stop stretches the length of the room behind the bar.

A long and deep list of craft beers are available on tap by the pint or for growler fills, and the staff is quite knowledgeable about local, regional and even international beers. I especially appreciate the available variety of glassware to complement individual styles of beers, since not every beer demonstrates the highlights of its flavor in the traditional and popular shaker pint glass. (Really, none of them do.)

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